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Georgian Opposition Addresses Int’l Community over Electoral Reform Deal Implementation

Georgian opposition parties released a joint letter addressed to “partners and supporters of Georgia” on April 23, updating them on the implementation of foreign-mediated March 8 electoral reform deal between ruling party and the opposition.

Stressing that “release of political prisoners was an integral part of that agreement,” opposition parties said Irakli Okruashvili’s jailing for five years is “a step in the negative direction in breach of the Agreement’s letter and spirit.”

“On April 14, the United States Embassy as well as HE Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia made statement in which they expressed concern over the sentencing and called for the full implementation of the Agreement,” opposition parties added.

The letter was signed by over 25 political parties, including European Georgia, United National Movement, Labor Party, Lelo, Civic Movement, Free Democrats, New Georgia, Republican Party, New Political Centre Girchi, United Georgia-Democratic Movement, as well as independent MP Nato Chkheidze.

The signatories stated that they “have consistently upheld the Agreement,” including voting for setting up a Constitutional Commission on electoral reform and taking part in electoral code discussions.

However, opposition parties said, “none of these efforts will count if the remaining political prisoners – Gigi Ugulava, Giorgi Rurua and Irakli Okruashvili are not released.”

“As soon as the coronavirus pandemic fades, this would again throw the country back into political turmoil and increase risks in the run up to the October elections,” opposition parties stressed in the letter, adding that “our goal, however, is for this not to happen.”

“Emergencies should never be used to undermine democracy,” said signatory opposition parties.

“As you are focused on your nations’ efforts to battle the Pandemic, our most sincere pledge before you would be to remind the Georgian Government of the importance of the full implementation of the March 8 Agreement,” opposition parties concluded.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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